The Best Restaurants and Bars Near the American Museum of Natural History

Where to eat before or after on the Upper West Side
November 28, 2017
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by Zagat Staff

The American Museum of Natural History has a seemingly endless collection of natural wonders and dioramas. It takes hours to really make a dent in the exhibits. Avoid the overpriced cafe fare inside before or after your visit with a trip to one of these neighborhood restaurants and bars.

White Gold Butchers
West 70s · $$$

From chef April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman comes this whole-animal butcher shop and American restaurant on the Upper West Side, offering decisively meaty courses and seasonal plates, as well as an afternoon hot-dog happy hour. There’s table service at night, but counter space and black banquettes provide seating options all day.
Parm
Italian · West 70s · $$
Food 3.7 · Decor 3.4 · Service 3.5

That “can’t-miss” namesake sandwich stars on the “limited menu” of “Carbone-on-the-cheap” Italian-American classics at this “relaxed” mini-chain from the Torrisi crew; some unimpressed with the “dinerlike” setups and “spotty” service call it “overhyped” , but the fact that it’s “always crowded” speaks for itself.
Barney Greengrass
Brunch · West 80s · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.0 · Service 3.7

An “essential” UWS “institution” , this circa-1908 “temple to smoked fish” “still reigns” with its “fabulous fresh bagels” , “silky” nova and other “quintessential” Jewish deli fare; on weekends service turns more “brusque” and the “cramped” space gets “chaotic” , but “so what?” – it's “part of the charm.”
RedFarm
Chinese · West 70s · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

“Intense” flavors and “innovative” preparations make for “unbelievably good” Chinese plates and “contemporary” dim sum (a “strong suit” ) at these “lively” hangs from Ed Schoenfeld and Joe Ng; “long waits” (no reservations) and “elbow-to-elbow” seating are the downsides, but “incredible” cocktails help ensure “everyone leaves happy.”
Shake Shack
Burger · West 70s · $
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.4

“Premium fast food” is the draw at this “widely syndicated” Danny Meyer chain, offering “mouthwatering” burgers, “rich shakes” and other “upgraded” eats (plus beer and wine) at a “manageable price” ; they’re “a magnet” for “legions of fans” who can create “hectic scenes” and “insane lines” , especially at the “landmark” Madison Square Park shack “where it all started.”
Dovetail
West 70s · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.5

Something of a “surprise gem” on the UWS, John Fraser’s “sophisticated” New American delivers “terrific” tasting menu–only cuisine in “chic, modern” and “serene” environs via an “intelligent, caring” crew; “wonderful for special occasions” , it’s unsurprisingly “expensive” – though the ‘Sunday Suppa’ and “veggie-focused Monday” are relative “bargains.”
The Office NYC
West 50s · $$$$

Tucked into The Aviary, an offshoot of the Chicago bar by Alinea’s Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, this rarified spot on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental serves high-end cocktails, ultra-vintage spirits and fancy bites (which can also be ordered as a playful tasting menu with drink pairings). The richly designed space has a clubby, old-time style, and reservations are recommended.